The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio The great ones are back in action.

22Oct/110

Mr. Monk’s Top 20 List, Part Four

Past Posts: 11-15, 16-20 and honorable mentions.

10) Mr. Monk and the Sleeping Suspect (Season 2, Episode 7):

A beautiful woman is murdered by a mail bomb. Monk thinks her brother committed the crime. The problem? The brother Monk identifies has been in a coma for months. This case was a real puzzle as Monk has to find out how the comatose man perpetrated a seemingly impossible murder. In addition to this, with Dr. Kroger out of town, in lieu of therapy, Monk talks out his problems with the still comatose suspect.

9)   Mr. Monk and the Secret Santa (Season 4, Episode 9): At an office Christmas Party, poisoned wine that was sent to Captain Stottlemeyer. The episode is clearly the best of the four Monk Christmas episodes with a right mix of mystery, comedy, and sentiment.

8 ) Mr. Monk and Dale the Whale (Season 1, Episode 4): Dale "the Whale" Biederbeck appears to be "the guy" in the killing of a woman as witnesses claim to have seen the 800 pound man in the house of a murdered woman on the night she was killed, but the bed-bound Biederbeck couldn't possibly have even gotten through the doorway.

Biederbeck is a personal enemy of Monk's, vindictive and spiteful. He sued Trudy over an unflattering article and sent the Monks into bankruptcy.

The way Monk solves the case is genius as was the case with most of the Monk episodes. The denoument is somewhat reminiscent of Poirot particularly when Monk says the phrase, "A very fat man."

I should add that this isn't the last that the series would see of "Dale the Whale." Appeared twice more and in each of three appearances, he was played by a different actor.  So fans can compare their favorite. Tim Curry's version was mine.  Dale  always seemed to know more about Trudy's death than he let on, and had a mix of power, cunning, and ruthlessness working for him. It always seemed to me that the writers could have done more with him than they did.

7) Mr. Monk and the End (Season 8, Episode 15 and 16): There's much to like about Mr. Monk and the End. First of all, it actually gives Monk's story an ending. This itself is rare in detective fiction. Historically, this is very rare for detective series. Think about the Columbo or The Rockford Files and you realize that the detective show typically goes out unplanned with a whimper.

In the course of investigating a murder at the same place he'd been when he learned at Trudy's death, Monk gets too close for comfort to finding his wife's killer, who orders Monk killed. The assassin poisons an item in Monk's grocery cart.

The doctor informs Monk that the poison will kill him in a matter of days and that not only had someone tried to murder Monk, but that they may have succeeded.  The doctors can develop an anti-toxin if they can find the source of the poison in time.

The police set out to find Monk's killer before it's too late. When hope appears to be lost, Monk finally discovers a clue to the identity of Trudy's murderer, but is it too late? Will Monk run out of time before the killer does?

The overarching plot of the two part episode is a great homage to that Noir Classic, DOA which features a hero (played by Edmond O'Brien) who has been  murdered with luminous poisioning and seeks to find the killer before the poison runs its course.

"Mr. Monk and the End" has moments of high-level dramatic intensity and while there's not a whole lot of mystery in this story, Monk does some fancy deduction at the end.

The show also had some very comedic moments as well, particularly when Monk is told about the poison and its effects:

Dr. Shuler: You’re gonna feel normal for a while. And then there’s gonna be some vomiting, followed by death.
Monk: Vomiting?
Dr. Shuler: That’s right. Followed by death.
Monk: Vomiting.
Dr. Shuler: Yes. Followed by death.
Monk: Vomiting!
Dr. Shuler: Adrian, I really need you to focus on the last part of that sentence. There’s gonna be some vomiting and then death.
Monk: Is there any chance death could come before the vomiting?

There are a few points to criticize the episode on. What became clear from watching the episode, it seemed to me that the writers really hadn't thought of who'd killed Trudy and that over the course of the show they threw out random clues ("the six fingered man," "the judge,")  and in this episode had to find some way to come to a coherent conclusion. They succeeded mostly, but had they had more of an idea as to the who and why of Trudy's murderer, it would have flowed a bit better.

I did appreciate how they brought most of the characters (Disher, the Captain, Monk) to some point of change in their lives, but their effort to insert a love interest for Natalie into the story with no foreshadowing in prior episodes (as happened with Disher and the Captain) was clunky.

One criticism I've read of the episode is that some think the actual reason for Trudy's murder was too "soap operaish." Some would hope that the reason for the murder would be something big like a corporate scandal or a political cover up rather than something personal. Without giving away the ending, I'll say that I understand why the writers chose to play it the way they did.  They're ultimate goal with the ending was not just to wrap up Monk's case, but to give a satisfying change in direction to Monk's life. Mere vengeance or catching the bad guy wouldn't do that.  The way they wrote this episode was a master stroke and a fitting end to the 21st Century's best detective, complete with a new Randy Newman song written especially for the end.

6) Mr. Monk and the Billionaire Mugger (Season 1, Episode 7): A mugger jumps out with a knife to rob a man. The man promptly shoots him in self-defense. A uniformed police officer is seen fleeing the scene. When its revealed that the mugger is a billionaire and the media begins talking down the department for the actions of "Fraidy Cop," Monk is called in.

The episode was both uproariously  funny and at the same time, a classic mystery puzzle.

Next week: the top 5.

If you enjoyed this post, you can have new posts about Detective stories and the golden age of radio and television delivered automatically to your Kindle.

21Oct/110

EP0520: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The James Clayton Matter

John Lund

A doctor tells Johnny that he advised a patient to divorce her husband, and his life is now in danger from the irate husband

Original Air Date: December 5, 1952

Save more and combine hotel and airline fare at http://www.johnnydollarair.com

Cast your vote for the show on podcast alley http://podcastalley.greatdetectives.net

Become one of our friends on Facebook...http://www.facebook.com/radiodetectives

Take the listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader.

20Oct/111

EP0519: Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

A young governess turns to Holmes when she receives an unusual offer of employment.

Original Air Date: November 2, 1947

Cast your vote at http://podcastalley.greatdetectives.net

Become of our friends on Facebook…http://facebook.com/radiodetectives

Take our listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader.

19Oct/110

EP0518: Let George Do It: Scream of the Eagle

Bob Bailey

A woman appears claiming to be an heiress that's been long thought to be dead. The one man who can identify her for sure  is murdered.

Original Air Date: July 3, 1950

Cast your vote at http://podcastalley.greatdetectives.net

Become of our friends on Facebook…http://facebook.com/radiodetectives

Take our listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader.

18Oct/110

EP0517: Rogue’s Gallery: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Murder

Dick Powell

Rogue is hired by a miserly old woman to find out who stole her will. It becomes a murder case when Rogue finds her dead.

Original Air Date: July 14, 1946

Quote of the show: ""Every nerve in my head was doing the highland fling to the tune of the anvil chorus."

Become one of our friends on Facebook... http://www.facebook.com/radiodetectives

Take the listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Give us a call 208-991-4783

Follow us on Twitter @radiodetectives

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader.

17Oct/110

EP0516: Barrie Craig: The Long Way Home

William Gargan

Barrie Craig is hired by a woman to  protect from her estranged husband-a dangerous killer, but Craig senses something is wrong with the whole set up.

Original Air Date: July 8, 1952

Become one of our friends on Facebook... http://www.facebook.com/radiodetectives

Take the listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Give us a call 208-991-4783

Follow us on Twitter @radiodetectives

 Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader.

16Oct/110

Book Review: Plot It Yourself

In Plot It Yourself, Rex Stout follows the old writing axiom of, "Write what you know."

A joint writers-publishers committee turns to Wolfe to stop a plagiarism swindle. Four authors created successful novels and plays were sued by others writers who claiming that the successful works were stolen from them. The unknowns all cashed in with settlements or court victories which cost writers   and publishers in money and reputation.

Wolfe gets hold of the fraudulent manuscripts and by comparing the styles, discovers that with one exception, all of them were written by the same writer. However, when he compares that style to that of other writing by the phony claimants, he discovers that none of them wrote the fraudulent manuscripts, which means that the mastermind of the scam could be anyone and that the writers filing false claims are only shills.

Wolfe tries to beg off the case, but is persuaded to take part in a plan by the committee to pay one of the phony authors to obtain the identity of the mastermind. However, before Archie gets to him, the man is murdered much to the embarrassment of Wolfe and Archie. The body count rises quickly and so does the pressure on Wolfe to crack the case.

The murders at the center of the case were the result of Nero Wolfe bungling by failing to have a man guards the accomplices before approaching them. This seems to be a recurring theme in the Wolfe novels of the 1950s. Wolfe bungles led to deaths in If Death Ever Slept and Before Midnight. At this point, it seems to have been overdone. Master detectives shouldn't require a warning label.

Other than that, the mystery went very well. I had suspected the murderer early on, but Stout was a master at misdirecting the reader, so I'd moved on to other suspects by the end of the novel.

Wolfe was wonderfully eccentric throughout the novel. He went on strike against himself, offended his own self-esteem, and even swore not to eat meat until the case was solved. Wolfe did go a little over the top when Wolfe spent the last few pages complimenting the murderer and building their self-esteem.

The only other thing to note is that a writer, I found the whole discussion of plagiarism swindles fascinating, however I could see someone who wasn’t a writer being less thrilled with the long and involved discussion that prefaces the case.

For my part, I’ll give it a:

Rating: Satisfactory

You can find all the Nero Wolfe books in Kindle, Audiobook, and book form on our Nero Wolfe page.

If you enjoyed this post, you can have new posts about Detective stories and the golden age of radio and television delivered automatically to your Kindle.

15Oct/110

Mr. Monk’s Top 20 List, Part Three

See 16-20 and honorable mentions.

15) Mr. Monk and the Panic Room (Season 3, Episode 2):  This is a classic locked room mystery. A man is found murdered in his personal panic room and his chimp is found holding the murder gun. In addition, multiple shots were fired foreclosing the possibility of suicide.  Sharona takes a shine to the chimp, and takes it away from Animal Control to avoid it being put to death. It's up to Monk to find out what really happened. This episode also featured some zaniness as the Captain tries to find out if the Chimp could have fired the gun by trying to provoke the chimp with an empty gun (or at least one the Captain thought was empty.)

14. Mr. Monk v. the Cobra: (Season 3, Episode 11): The martial arts star, "The Cobra" is believed to have been long dead. However, he apparently comes back to murder a man who wrote a tell-all book about him. Monk is on the case, searching for the truth. At the same time, Natalie is upset when she learns that while struggling to pay her, Monk is keeping up Trudy's office. This episode has a very solid ending and a great denoument as Monk gets very close to death.

13) Mr. Monk and the Big Reward  (Season 4, Episode 13): Once again, Natalie's pay is an issue and she wants Monk to get more money. This time, Natalie wants Monk to find a missing diamond that has a million dollar reward attached to it. However, to solve the case, Monk has to beat three other archetype detectives who figure out the easiest way to collect is to just follow Monk around. Hilarity ensues, along with a fun mix of guest detectives.

12) Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico (Season 2, Episode 2): A truly bizarre death sends Monk and Sharona South of the border. A young man dies when his parachute fails, but the medical examiner says the cause of death is drowning. To make matters worse, someone is trying to kill Monk. When Monk arrives, he finds life in Mexico difficult without his favorite brand of bottled water available, Monk suffers mightily, and has to solve the case and get out of Mexico quickly.  A very funny episode with a great denoument.

11) Mr. Monk Goes Home Again (Season 4, Episode 2) Monk's secnd visit home to his brother Ambrose comes on Halloween as their estranged father is supposed to come for a visit. However, a murderer is loose, having shot an armored car guard with his own gun. And someone is attacking Trick-or-Treaters who have gone to Ambrose's house and stealing their candy.  One of the show's better mix of comedy, mystery, and some poignant moments between the brothers Monk.

If you enjoyed this post, you can have new posts about Detective stories and the golden age of radio and television delivered automatically to your Kindle.

14Oct/110

EP0515: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Transpacific Matter

John Lund

Johnny goes to a war-torn Hong Kong to find out the truth behind a suspicious fire.

Audition: November 1952

Become one of our friends on Facebook...http://www.facebook.com/radiodetectives

Take the listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader.

13Oct/110

EP0514: Sherlock Holmes: The Laughing Lemur of High Tower Heath

Sherlock Holmes is up against an old legend that states a young child who is doomed to die.

Original Air Date: October 26, 1947

Take our listener survey...http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Become one of our friends on Facebook... http://www.facebook.com/radiodetectives

Vote for the show on Podcast Alley...http://podcastalley.greatdetectives.net

Call 208-991-4783 to leave a voicemail.

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader.

Subscribers

Pages

Friends of the Show

GAR Links

Great OTR LInks

Other Old Time Radio Shows

October 2011
M T W T F S S
« Sep   Nov »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Tags

Categories

Archives